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AKFED is joined by IFC, EBRD and governments of Germany and Japan in launch of Kyrgyz Republic's largest bank

Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 29 August 2001 - President Askar Akaev today officially inaugurated the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB). With a fully paid-up share capital of US$ 7 million, KICB becomes the country's largest commercial bank.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the principal shareholder will also oversee management which draws on both international expertise and local professionals. Other shareholders include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (20%), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (20%), Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) (20%) and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (10%). KICB has also received a significant grant from the Government of Japan and considerable assistance from Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).

"KICB, which will operate to the highest international banking standards, is committed to economic development in the Kyrgyz Republic," said Iain Cheyne, Chairman of KICB and a Director of AKFED. "We hope," he continued, "that our focus on the corporate sector and on medium and long-term finance will both contribute to the growth of the banking industry and stimulate entrepreneurial activity in the local economy."

KICB's management team includes a Chief Executive Officer with experience in the western banking system as well as in transition economies. Professional Kyrgyz staff have been working closely with the Chief Credit Officer and Chief Operations Officer who have been engaged under a technical assistance contract with ICC Bank plc, Ireland, which is helping the development of the bank's internal systems and also providing specialised training programmes for personnel at various levels.

The Bank is well-positioned to provide a wide range of products and services, including, short-term working capital loans, medium-to-long-term credits, trade finance products, corporate deposits, international money transfer, money market and foreign exchange operations as well as correspondent banking.

AKFED is the economic development arm of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies seeking to improve opportunities and living conditions in specific regions of the developing world, especially Africa and Asia. Active in the fields of industry, financial services, tourism development and infrastructure in some twenty countries across South and Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, AKFED controls assets in excess of US$ 1 billion. The Fund, which has been operating banks, insurance companies and microcredit programmes for decades, already manages a microcredit programme in Tajikistan. The AKDN has been active in Central Asia since the early 1990s.

IFC, a member of the World Bank group, promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve peoples' lives. IFC finances private sector investments in emerging markets, mobilises capital in international financial markets and provides technical assistance to Governments and businesses. In the Kyrgyz Republic, IFC's focus is on small and medium enterprises, micro-finance, financial sector, mining, agriculture and tourism.

EBRD seeks to foster the transition to an open market economy and to promote private and entrepreneurial development in all its countries of operations. It does this as a participant investor with a private sector focus. It works with its partners on projects that are financially sound and advance the transition, and that would be unlikely to emerge or to function well without its participation.

DEG has been specialising in long-term project and corporate financing for almost 40 years. It advises private companies, structures and finances their investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe. As one of the largest European development finance institutions, DEG has so far co-operated with more than 950 companies. DEG's aim is to establish private enterprise structures in developing and transition countries and to use this as the basis for sustainable economic growth and a lasting improvement on people's living standards.

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